Aisling Symes Disappearance
AISLING SYMES DISAPPEARANCE
This has been a horrible situation for Aisling’s family. Our hopes were with them and we now grieve with them for their tragic loss.
Sadly, the case provided another platform for institutional sexism in news reports that police were focusing on local “child-related offending” and people of interest in this regard. For the public this will have evoked suspicion mainly of males. That in itself may have been fair enough even though the only evidence of anyone else’s involvement concerned an Asian woman who was seen to interact with Aisling just before she disappeared yet failed to come forward. However, the police then specifically appealed to the community not to persecute Asian women whereas they did not urge the same restraint regarding men, for example, those who may at some time have been accused (falsely or otherwise) of sex offences, or to emphasize that there was absolutely no evidence that any male was involved in Aisling’s disappearance. Neither did police (or media) consider it necessary to mention that snatching of babies and very young children is most often done by women for various psychopathological reasons.
In fact, the woman seen with Aisling was known to have psychological problems and a history of enticing children into a car. Nevertheless, police (and/or media) were happy to allow the public to develop suspicion about men. In truth, the vast majority of men have a strong sense of social responsibility and if they saw a young child unattended on the footpath they would ensure the child was returned to parental supervision. Nobody cared to mention that though.
Actually, I was generally impressed with the main detective who spoke to the media. For example, on television he invited anyone “looking after” Aisling to return her to the care of her parents. This wording was wise, capable of encouraging a mentally unstable abductor to see him/herself in a positive light and to feel safe enough to return the girl. Sadly, the news interviewers ignored his wise direction and persisted instead with suggestions of paedophile offending.
Innocent circumstances were always the most likely explanation for Aisling’s disappearance. Due to heavy rain a nearby stream was so flooded that it could not initially be searched safely. All possible ways of being washed away should have been fully ruled out before casting aspersions on others. Now that an innocent explanation has turned out to be the correct one, have we heard anything from police to repair the damage done to the image of males through their investigation? Of course not; men don’t matter. But don’t be surprised if we hear further protective statements to repair the reputation of Asian women. They evidently matter much more.